As you may know, we’ve been working with YMCA Mendip to help prepare a home for the first of the unaccompanied children being resettled in this area. This is just the beginning of what we need to do, as Somerset is hoping to resettle about seventy children in the next year.
The following letter from Orla Dunn outlines some of the ways that you, or someone you might know, could get involved. Please share.
Dear Community Groups / Supporters
You may have heard that Somerset is starting to take an increasing number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children. The majority of these children are likely to be 16 and 17 years old. Somerset is looking to resettle around 70 children in the next 12 months and we are hoping to mobilise the support of our community groups and networks to enable us to do this successfully. We are looking for the following:
Carers who can offer any of the following types of support:
- Supported lodgings for 16 and 17 year olds
- Full time fostering for some of the younger children
- School holiday and weekend Fostering
- Short term emergency placements
We are interested in both individual family offers to provide lodgings / foster placements. These families would need to be approved as carers. We are also planning to set up community groups where a small number of families in close proximity work together to support a small group of children with one placed in each household but strong links between providing support to both the carers and children.
All prospective carers will need to undergo a full assessment which can take 4-6 months and will receive full training. All foster carers receive an allowance when a child, or children, is living with them to cover the costs of food, clothing, pocket money, bills and activities. All foster carers are paid a fee to reflect the type of placement they offer and the skills, experience and commitment they bring to fostering. The fee will be in addition to the allowance received for the child. If you would like more information on the various fostering support options please email AandFRecruitmentEnquiryLine@somerset.gov.uk
We are also interested in people who would be willing to help support the young people with their integration into the local community. This might take the form of helping with English language skills, showing them around the local area, helping them make links with community groups and mentor role models. We are particularly keen to make contact with anyone who speaks languages spoken in Albania, Eritrea or Afghanistan or is familiar with the cultures in these areas. If you would like to be involved in this type of support please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- People who are wishing to donate furniture and goods are requested to contact local groups supporting refugees such as RAFT and RAISE to discuss the types of items which would be most useful at this point in time. Key contacts in the West of the county for RAFT (Based in Taunton) https://www.facebook.com/Refugee-Aid-From-Taunton-raft-1710774292485967/or 07545 895768 and for East of the county RAISE (based in Frome) – email email@example.com
Dr Orla Dunn
Consultant in Public Health
Somerset County Council
07795 286 935
Somerset County Council
PA: Christine Pearce
Somerset Choices is a website that gives people information and advice on care and support services and local groups in Somerset. Go towww.somersetchoices.org.uk